When I stepped into professional life, armed with an Engineering degree and a couple of post graduations in Management and Marketing, I felt I was ready to conquer the world. Working sixteen hours a day (and maybe eight hours on weekends) at an average, I wanted to learn all I could and out-perform everyone on my first job (which I did) to rise quickly to the top of the corporate ladder. Everything worked well, except that I was made to realize that hard work, loyalty and results are not everything in the structure of our organization (a major private sector corporation) and that patience and experience were required too.
Being much younger then, patience was a scarce commodity. I put my three years-odd of performance appraisals behind me and moved into a public sector enterprise, where I was told that growth would not be too fast, but, at least I would get an opportunity to learn from our R&D and play an important role in India's development. More mature by then, I learnt whatever I could during my three year stint and waited for the right opportunity to encash that knowledge.
Within a span a two years from then (at the age of 29), I became the CEO of a software export subsidiary of a leading Indian IT company that was listed on the bourses. I guess I must have been the youngest CEO of a public-held company in India then, without being related to any members on the Board.
The joy was short lived, as I soon realized that even in listed companies the management lacks a clear business vision and at times is rather orthodox in its approach. Priorities are often misplaced and people tend to stay in their comfort zones (often bound by tradition) rather than experiment with new ideas that could transform business success radically.
I stepped out of this cocoon to start my own venture in 1991. The vision was to create an informal yet professional organization that could grow multifold through excellent services delivered to its clients by a highly motivated workforce that identified with the organization. We created a team that could snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat and became the fastest growing system integrator in India.
Revenues and scales grew and we merged with a Bangalore-based ERP pioneer in 2002, which transformed itself into an IT solution provider. The company created history on being ranked by Deloitte as one of the fastest growing technology companies in India and Asia-Pacific, three years in a row. We innovated and we thrived on innovation, reaping contracts, awards and accolades all along. The company did a successful GDR and today trades on BSE, NSE and SGX (Singapore Stock Exchange).
While I have no complaints about achieving what I did in my 26 years of hard work, I am sure I learnt everything the hard way and even so had to learn it from scratch each time. I wish I had someone who could have guided me, when I was thrown into the ocean of global business without knowing how to swim or had someone to turn to for a second opinion (or even a first). There were always new problems and rather than finding someone to solve them, I learnt to master the situation myself. From being a CEO & Managing Director, to being a Salesman, a Project Manager, an R&D engineer, a network designer, a PR professional, a Legal expert, an international trade & taxation expert, a fund raiser - amazing roleplay!
When you are ready to label yourself an entrepreneur, you need to be prepared for everything. And believe me, something new will still come up and surprise you! Your own domain expertise be damned, business will make you do everything you were never prepared for, unless your pockets are deep enough to hire the best of professionals at fees you'd rather earn yourself!
Which is why large businesses (with strong business models) keep growing larger, while most small businesses find it hard to survive. Was there a way out of this paradox?
And this is where it struck me! What if there was an organization that acted as a support system to an entrepreneur, that handled all areas wherein the entrepreneur lacked domain expertise and let him focus his energies on what he was best suited for and passionate about?
And that was the birth of Mentorpreneur...
Mentorpreneur is an organization that takes on the roles of "Mentoring" through its international network of entrepreneurs, executives, engineers, attorneys, consultants and other industry professionals who provide mentoring and advisory services to business decision-makers and leading investors from around the world. Further, it provides "entrepreneurial" guidance and seed capital of its own or guides the entrepreneur in raising Private Equity or even taking the IPO route and or GDR/ADR route to raise capital to fuel his growth plans. Mentorpreneur aspires to create enlightened leaders who can turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones, on which excellent organisations can be built.
Through this blog, I hope to reach out to all of you who have ideas and abilities that are yet to be recognized by the world at large. I wish to have experts respond to your business queries and back your ideas and abilities with sound business plans and if need be, even fund them. I intend to create a collaborative platform for professionals to interact and find their place in the Sun. In short a Win-Win for everyone...
May the spark of enterprise ignite our world!
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